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Help for Small Businesses Looking for Government Contracts

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Help for Small Businesses Looking for Government Contracts

Published: July 6, 2010

Small business owners looking for government contracts may not know that there is an entire organization out there set up to help you land government business. This organization hosts networking events, procurement conferences, business-strategy workshops, and more; in your geographic area.

This organization provides direct access to information about subcontracting, and goes so far as to provide a list of business opportunities directed precisely at the small business owner looking for government work.

This organization is the GS-s Office of Small Business Utilization (OSBU).

Trust me on this- OSBU can be a huge help. OSBU is your advocate. OSBU is your guide to all things relating to small businesses and government contracting.

OSBU will help you register as a small business, help you figure out where to look for your first contract, point you toward opportunities, and help you find partners.

Here is how OSBU describes itself:

Real people

One of the most helpful things OSBU provides is access to real people.

OSBU has 12 offices throughout the United States, including a national office in Washington, D.C. OSBU provides a unique web page for each of these, as well as an actual contact name, phone number, and e-mail address. If you have a question, you can simply pick up the phone and call.

Here is a listing of the 12 OSBU offices and their individual pages on the GSA website:

Each of these pages provides an overview of the region, news and notices (including a listing of local events) relating to the local area, and more. It even provides a listing of local government jobs. And, again, each provides a comprehensive list of actual people to contact in your area' a real gem when it comes to getting help with government contracting.

Contracting opportunities

Does your small business perform building or property maintenance or repairs? Does your small business offer IT services? What about events? Maybe your company sells furniture, or provides staffing?

Each one of these types of business is mentioned in the OSB's'Forecast of Contracting Opportunities' The forecast informs business owners of anticipated contracts offered through GSA for each upcoming government fiscal year, as well as known opportunities for subsequent fiscal years.

The downloadable version of the opportunity forecast (accessible from this page) is updated every day, and can be sorted according to your business, your location, contract dollar value, or any combination of these.

There are millions of dollars worth of contracts in this listing. If you go to no other site that lists contracting opportunities, go to this one. It will be worth your click.

Subcontracting partners

A lot of small businesses start out as subcontractors to larger, prime contractors. This is an excellent place to start. And, OSBU can help you here, too, by providing access to the GSA's Subcontracting Directory - published specifically to help small businesses find subcontracting opportunities.

It is government contracting law that large business prime contractors receiving federal contracts valued at more than $1 million for construction, $550,000 for all other contracts, establish plans and goals for subcontracting with small businesses.

The GSA Subcontracting Directory is a list of these larger contractors that have subcontracting plans and goals.

OSBU offers an overview of what the Subcontracting Directory is and how it works, if you'd like to do some research first. OSBU offers you a direct link to the GSA Subcontracting Directory if you're looking to dive right in.

Conclusion

Government contracting can be complicated, even for larger companies that have been in it for many years. The best thing you can do as a smaller company getting into the world of government contracting is to find an experienced guide - an organization that can help you navigate your way to your first contract.

Try OSBU. They won't let you down.

Additional Resources

Bill Gormley is President and CEO of Washington Management Group and FedSources, Chairman of the Coalition for Government Procurement, and a Director on the Procurement Round Table.

About the Author:

Comments:

Is it true that most Solicitations require that the proposals include a Small business subcontracting plan, and also require that the subcontractors be identified? Contacting a Prime after award is, therefor, too late.

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